Writers on strike beware: Hollywood has changed for ever
As writers go on strike across Hollywood, they should be aware that with every passing day, their beloved entertainment industry is changing — and changing in a way that may never be reversed. From streaming services emerging as the biggest studios, to seismic shifts in how content is created, distributed and consumed, Hollywood has initiated a transition that promises to rewrite the playbook for everyone in the game.
1. Impact of Writers Strike on Film Industry
The writers strike of 2007-2008 had a long-standing impact on the film industry. The stoppage in production and issues between studios and writers with writers not receiving residuals for digital streaming resources was a major factor that affected the entire industry.
- Film delays: The production of many films were delayed during and after the strike, meaning some films only received narrow releases, while others were dropped from production altogether
- Budgeted films: As digital streaming became more of the market share, budgeted films were drastically impacted due to lower residuals the writers received.
The writers strike heavily impacted the film industry, reshaping the way films were made, produced, and delivered. A majority of the viewership had shifted to streaming platforms that offered significantly lower profit margins than theatrical experiences, such as spending millions on a Cannes release, thus significantly reducing the compensation writers were receiving.
2. Lasting Change in Hollywood Business Model
The way in which Hollywood does business has had a few major changes in recent years. With the help of new technologies, media, and distribution networks, the method of movie production and promotion is becoming more efficient. Here are a few lasting changes that have come about:
- Platforms for Direct-to-Consumer Delivery: With the increase of streaming services, the industry is drastically changing, allowing for a direct-to-consumer delivery of entertainment. The days of the traditional theatrical window are slowly fading away, giving way to the instant gratification delivered by services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- Audience Engagement; New technology has enabled studios and networks to engage with their audience directly through user generated content. Not only can fans be rewarded for their enthusiasm, but it additionally gives Hollywood an insight into viewing trends and interests in order to better suit an audience’s needs.
- Changing Distribution Patterns: The distribution rights of movies are now being negotiated more carefully, setting up different deals than what was previously seen. Studios are no longer relying on the traditional, territorial rights already established. Instead, they are setting up deals that may span structures of different platforms and verticals, contracts between syndicates, or ones consulting the screens at a multiplex.
The result of these changes mean that Hollywood is a much nimbler industry, allowing for filmmakers to push the boundaries of creativity and reach a broader audience. Studios can now quickly receive feedback from viewers, giving them the opportunity to improve the product or take whatever measures necessary to make the most of their film. Investing in long-term relationships is also major, allowing for trust and loyalty to be established between the studio, filmmakers, and even the audience.
3. Dangers for Striking Writers
Writing is a profession rife with exposure: to rejection and failure, but also to criticism from others, high emotional stakes and many ethical dilemmas. All these aspects can take a heavy emotional toll on a writer, and the most ferocious of these is when they choose to strike. A strike is where a writer deliberately refuses to cooperate with an employer or the industry in a bid to receive better working conditions, pay or receive recognition.
However, with such an extreme action comes extreme risks. Writers who choose to strike may be subjected to backlash from the media, industry representatives, and even their own fan base. It could also damage relationships with employers and co-workers, affect their ability to remain in the industry, or lead to legal action being taken against them. Writers should be mindful of their decision to strike, and in some cases, other avenues may be more effective, such as joining a union or seeking legal advice.
- Criticism – writers may face a lot of criticism for striking, which can be detrimental to their career and reputation.
- Relationships – striking can damage relationships with employers, co-workers, and even fans.
- Legal Action – depending on the severity of the strike, writers could face serious legal consequences.
4. Adapt or be Left Behind: A New Reality for Writers
Gone are the days where a writer could create content based on their own standards and not be affected by change. In today’s digital world, writers must constantly challenge their expertise and knowledge to keep up with the evolving trends. Writers need to remind themselves that customers want articles that feature accuracy and impact.
The world of writing has shifted in two major ways:
- Voice — writers must find unique voices to stand out in the ever-growing, digital space
- Format — writers must be open to experimenting with different formats to wins more readers
. As a writer, it’s important to use the above to create content that resonates with readers.
The decision to go on strike is a difficult one, with no certain outcome. What is certain, however, is that post-strike Hollywood will never be the same. Writers are at the heart of Hollywood, and the industry’s future will depend in large part on those who have the courage to put their livelihoods on the line for the principles they believe in. The writers have made their stand, and it is now up to Hollywood to seize the moment and create a better future for itself.